WRC 9 Switch Review: On-The-Go Off-Road

My absolute favorite racing game from 2020 was WRC 9 on PS4. The rally-focused racer from NACON and KT Racing scratched every itch that I had for fast-paced, drift-based racing, with the PS5 release (and its spectacular graphics) only increasing my enjoyment of the game. WRC 9 is now available on Nintendo Switch, bringing all of the previously released content to Nintendo’s portable device. Although playing it on a next-gen console provides the best overall experience, WRC 9 on Nintendo Switch offers fun and immersive gameplay in one of the most realistic racing sims on the Switch.

WRC 9 is the most in-depth rally game on the market – on the Nintendo Switch or otherwise – and is endorsed by some of the world’s best off-road rally drivers. The franchise has continued to see success with each new release, with WRC 9 currently sitting as the highest-rated game in the series. It’s not a question of how good the game is. Rather, it’s more a question of: what’s not to love?

You’ll be along for the ride with the game’s different circuit categories – WRC, WRC 2, WRC 3, and Junior WRC – all of which offer up different ways of experiencing the high-octane races and strategies of the sport. Over 50 official teams (along with their official livery) are available for you to try out in the game’s 14 environments, over 110 special stages, three new rallies in Japan, New Zealand, and Kenya, as well as the special stages of Finland and Portugal rallies that were released as post-launch DLC. And let’s not forget the 15 legendary cars that are available as well.

All of the modes are here on Switch as well, such as Season, Clubs, Challenges, and the incredibly deep Career mode that will have you managing every aspect of your driver’s team and daily routine. Weekly challenges are exactly as you’d expect as well. You can compete against the online leaderboard for the fastest time in special limited-time events, like Clubs, offering up a multiplayer component to the otherwise single-player experience.

There’s really not much that the Switch version of the game is missing compared with the other console versions. Most of the differences come from the technical capabilities of the Nintendo Switch, which is immediately apparent in WRC 9’s visuals.

Obviously, the graphical limitations of the Switch put a cap on the game that has otherwise very impressive graphics on PS4 and PS5. Cars are a bit more polygonal in design, while the passing landscapes are flatter and more bare-boned than the PlayStation version. This isn’t surprising though, since some technical sacrifices are necessary to port any game to the Switch. Having played plenty of other racing titles on Switch, though, WRC 9 is definitely one of the most graphically impressive racing titles that I’ve come across.

The Joy-Con controllers are the only other major difference between the Switch and PlayStation versions of WRC 9. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Joy-Con controllers are terrible. There’s a definite weighted feeling when driving a car with the PS5’s DualSense controller, or even with the Dualshock 4. Even with the Switch’s rumble feature (which I’m also not a fan of), that more immersive feeling is notably absent from the Switch version of the game. Again, though, this is to be expected given the Joy-Cons’ technical limitations.

As far as racing games go on the Switch, WRC 9 takes top honors. The realistic racing sim has been ported to the mobile device near-flawlessly, falling short only due to the hardware capabilities of the Switch. The definitive way to experience WRC 9 is on the PS5 or Xbox Series X. However, the Nintendo Switch version of the game is a solid option for players who are looking to take their races on-the-go.

A Switch copy of WRC 9 was provided to TheGamer for this review. WRC 9 is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC. A physical Switch edition of WRC 9 will be available at a later date.

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Sam has been writing for TheGamer since early 2018, earning the role as the Lead Features & Review Editor in 2019. The Denver, Colorado-native’s knack for writing has been a life-long endeavor. His time spent in corporate positions has helped shape the professional element of his creative writing passion and skills. Beyond writing, Sam is a lover of all things food and video games, which – especially on weekends – are generally mutually exclusive, as he streams his gameplay on Twitch (as well as TheGamer’s Facebook page) under the self-proclaimed, though well-deserved moniker of ChipotleSam. (Seriously…just ask him about his Chipotle burrito tattoo). You can find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as @RealChipotleSam.

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